Researchers from Columbia Business School in New York have demonstrated that the “Queen bee syndrome” – which states that women in senior management act to discourage other women from ascending the senior management ladder – is a myth. In fact, the Columbia study, which looked at 1,500 companies over a 20-year period, found that when a woman is appointed to a chief executive role, more women are likely to be promoted into senior ranks, but when a man is appointed as chief executive, the number of women appointed to senior roles falls by 50%. The Columbia researchers concluded there is an “implicit quota” for women in senior management, resulting in companies usually only appointing one woman to their top management team. They say that while male-dominated companies “gain legitimacy” from having a woman in top management, “the value of this legitimacy declines with each woman”. In other words, as noted in the Guardian, the “lack of women in top roles is down to men’s determination to retain control”.
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